The predictably label-loving and man-hungry film version of Sex and the City begins with a familiar voiceover from the show's protagonist: "Year after year, twenty-something women come to New York City in search of the two L's: labels and love." We are to expect that the show's lovable foursome will end up with both. And indeed they do. But what's surprising about this tale is not so much what the girls get, but what it turns out they wanted all along-mostly monogamous, stable, and matrimonial relationships.
HBO's series spent much effort trying to justify the extended adolescence of urban thirty-something women, but as much as Sex and the City tried to play up the benefits of the single life, even the creators seemed to realize that this bit of whimsy had a shelf life. After six years on HBO, as the girls started pushing 40, the series wrapped up.
The film version (rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language) is more of an extended season finale than a self-sufficient storyline, and it picks up where the series left off. Miranda is living in Brooklyn with her toddler Brady and husband Steve; Charlotte's on the Upper East Side with Harry and their adopted daughter; Samantha's living in Los Angeles with Smith; Carrie is working on her fourth book while shacking up in Mr. Big's apartment.
A halfhearted marriage proposal from Mr. Big seems more an excuse for fashion montages and lavish New York City hotspots than a blueprint for a lasting relationship, but the striking designs and settings are sure to please fans of the series.
Though the film's success depends mostly on public approval of these aesthetics, the moral of this tale is telling. While the feminist fantasy of Samantha carries on the torch of the perpetually single person, the other ladies find surprisingly traditional roles to fill.
In the end, the quintessential sex columnist has come to embody the caricature she so often drew of women in relationships. It seems Carrie Bradshaw was looking for a man to solve her problems. It just took longer for her to realize it.